Transcript of "E 3 - Ancient Egyptian Society and Family Life - Class 3, 2011 & Spring 2012"
Ancient Egyptian Society and Family Life Class 3 The New Kingdom<br />Adjunct Professor<br />Joe Boisvert<br />Gulf Coast State College Fall 2011 – Spring 2012<br />
The Egyptians appear to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind. <br />Women attend markets and are employed in trade, while men stay at home and do the weaving! <br />Men in Egypt carry loads on their head, women on their shoulder. Women pass water standing up, men sitting down. To ease themselves, they go indoors, but eat outside on the streets<br />on the theory that what is unseemly, but necessary, should be done in private, and what is not unseemly should be done openly.(Herodotus II: 33-37)<br />Ancient Egyptian Society and Family Life<br />
The nuclear family was the core of Egyptian society and many of the gods were even arranged into such groupings. There was tremendous pride in one's family, and lineage was traced through both the mother's and father's lines.<br />The nuclear family<br />
Respect for one's parents was a cornerstone of morality, and the most fundamental duty of the eldest son (or occasionally daughter) was to care for his parents in their last days and to ensure that they received a proper burial.<br />Morality and Burial<br />
Masks for the Commoner and for the Royal<br />
Once a young man was well into adolescence, it was appropriate for him to seek a partner and begin his own family. <br />Females were probably thought to be ready for marriage after their first menses. <br />The marrying age of males was probably a little older, perhaps 16 to 20 years of age, because they had to become established and be able to support a family.<br />Marriage Men 16-20 Years old – woman around 13<br />
Once married, however, couples were expected to be sexually faithful to each other.<br />Egyptians (except the king) were, in theory, monogamous, and many records indicate that couples expressed true affection for each other. <br />They were highly sensual people, and a major theme of their religion was fertility and procreation. <br />Marriage was Monogamous for Normal Egyptians <br />
This sensuality is reflected by two New Kingdom love poems: <br />"Your hand is in my hand, my body trembles with joy, my heart is exalted because we walk together," <br />and "She is more beautiful than any other girl, she is like a star rising . . . with beautiful eyes for looking and sweet lips for kissing" (after Lichtheim 1976: 182).<br />Two New Kingdom love poems:<br />
The ancient Egyptian terms for marriage (meni, "to moor [a boat]," and grg pr, "to found a house") convey the sense that the arrangement was about property. <br />Texts indicate that the groom often gave the bride's family a gift, and he also gave his wife presents. <br />Legal texts indicate that each spouse maintained control of the property that they brought to the marriage, while other property acquired during the union was jointly held.<br />Marriage was purely a social arrangement that regulated property. <br />
Although the institution of marriage was taken seriously, divorce was not uncommon. <br />Either partner could institute divorce for fault (adultery, inability to conceive, or abuse) or no fault (incompatibility). <br />Divorce was, no doubt, a matter of disappointment but certainly not one of disgrace, and it was very common for divorced people to remarry.<br />Divorce<br />
Egyptian children who successfully completed their fifth year could generally look forward to a full life, <br />which in peasant society was about thirty-three years for men and twenty-nine years for women, based on skeletal evidence. <br />Textual records indicate that for upper-class males, who were generally better fed and performed less strenuous labor than the lower classes, life expectancy could reach well into the sixties and seventies and sometimes even the eighties and nineties. <br />Average Life Span<br />
Although peasant children probably never entered any formal schooling, male children of scribes and the higher classes entered school at an early age. (Young girls were not formally schooled, but because some women knew how to read and write they must have had access to a learned family member or a private tutor.) <br />Children and Education<br />
Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 2,000-year-old granite statue of a Ptolemaic-era king near what is believed to be the tomb of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.A statement from Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities says the headless statue was discovered at the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of the coastal city of Alexandria.The ancient Egyptian temple is believed to be the burial site of Cleopatra and her lover, Mark Antony.<br />Believed but not Proven YetCleopatra’s Tomb<br />
The idea of Taposiris as the burial place of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, who killed themselves rather than submit to Antony's rival Octavian, was proposed by a young Dominican archeologist, Kathleen Martinez. <br />She tries to evoke the couple's last days, the end of Egypt as an empire. <br />"She has to choose a place that she must be safe after life," she says, because "the Romans hated her so much, they will search for her body and they will destroy it."<br />Still Just a Theroy<br />
The End Class 3 – Marriage in Ancient Egypt<br />
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